INTRODUCTION PRAYER - A Brief Explanation WHY WE OUGHT TO PRAY? METHODS TO PRAY a.
MEDITATAION ON THE SACRED SCRIPTRURES
THE WAY OF THE CROSS
ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
THE HOLY ROSARY
SOURCES TO PRAY •
FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
REACHING OF THE APOSTLES
TEACHING OF THE SAINTS
It is a very beneficial topic for me to take as my assignment as its meaning not only makes me good-at-spirit but while I was gathering information for it, I went across several beautiful and good methods to please God. I have done my level best to elaborate the topic. Man since his creation is a religious being coming from God and going towards God. His days on this Earth are numbered but his life next to come is boundless without any end. In order to obtain a good place among the courtiers of God it is best to take the Divine One as the Guide of life who guides and leads without any charge and provides the most sincere guidance. The soul of man in this body is like in a cage. The real place of the soul is the Ocean of Eternity and in the words of Socrates: “ When body allows the soul to flee to it’s original abode then it attains eternal joy and unlimited delight which grants it’s effects to the body too, by restoring peace and calm to it-the emblem of happiness”. This entire process is called “Prayer” not only by Socrates but by every person who believes in the existence of souls.
2. PRAYER- a brief explanation Saint John Chrysostom says that to be permitted to talk to with the Creator and to hold familiar intercourse with Him is the greatest honor and privilege mortal man can enjoy. This enjoyment does not possess any exterior sign or symptom but, it gives its exterior effects. This enjoyment of soul is referred by the Church Fathers to a term – “PRAYER”. Prayer is a kind of stairway not primarily to Heaven but, to Heaven-on-Earth., because it is a source of obtaining real happiness from God. Prayer of man nourishes and decorates his soul. Prayer is only meaningful and beneficial for a man when there is Sincerity in words, Earnestness and Obedience to God and, Presence of love and humility towards one’s neighbor; for unless we are not going to share the love present within God is not going to ponder His mercy upon us. “Prayer is a key that unlocks the treasury of divine riches.” Saint Augustine of Hippo The strength of prayer conceived from the faith makes our prayer effective. “You have great faith. Your request is granted.” (Gospel of St. Mathew 15/28) It is by prayer that God grants wisdom to the fool. Strength to the weak and, it is only the effect of prayer that God works miracles.
3. WHY WE OUGHT TO PRAY? In this the promise of our Lord Jesus holds good; as it says: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish and you shall have it.” (Gospel of St. John 15/7) By means of prayer sinners become just and the just are enabled to continue in the state of grace. This is because prayer is a safeguard against sin and temptation. The assaults of the Devil darken the understanding and weaken the will; prayer does the very opposite to it; it enlightens the understanding and strengthens the will. Saint Philippe Neri says that: “The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, because it banishes our sadness”; and the Holy Spirit comes to our aid when we have sincerity and truthfulness in our character. This mortal Earth is full of dangers, temptations and evil attacks; therefore it is very necessary that man should “Accept salvation as helmet and the Word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives” (Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 6/17,18) and dress himself like an armed soldier ready for battle. Even our Lord when he visited this Earth armed Himself with deep prayer by praying often whole nights and by fasting for 40 days. “If our Lord,” says Saint Ambrose “spent whole nights in prayer; what ought not we poor souls should do to save our souls.” Prayer is important for us to do because without prayer one falls into grievous sins. For instance, a servant who has never saluted or spoke to his master would not long be retained in his service. Similar is the condition of man who does not pray. Such a man is surely powerless in the hour of temptation; he can be compared to a warrior without weapons, a bird without wings and a ship without sails. Saint John Chrysostom in one of his sermons regarding prayer said: “A man who does not pray has no life in him- he has ceased to breathe.” “Hence our Lord bids us watch and pray.” (Gospel of St. Mathew 26/41) Even all the nations of the world worship some deity or other, the obligation of prayer is imprinted upon the human heart.
4. METHODS TO PRAY i. Meditation on the words of Holy Scripture Even tough the Holy Scripture (Bible) is a collection of words spoken and deeds performed thousands of years ago, but still the theme of every idea stated holds the same importance. The Holy Scripture since early times has been the source of God’s speech with the humans. “In Holy Scripture we learn to find God aright, we see His omnipotence.” (Council of Trent) When we read the inspirational writings of the Holy Text, we feel the same words being uttered to us and the same message being delivered to us. This emotion of spirituality “inspires a Christina just like a trumpet inspires courage into soldier.” (Saint Ephraim) The Scriptures have been moved to us by the Church Fathers and martyrs. They are examples of true faith that inspire us to pay complete attention towards the worth and meaning of the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures contain in itself an overflowing well that can never be exhausted. Whenever it is pondered something new Is to found in it. There is always a perfect image of God found; behind the words written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Scripture is like light house which guides us o safe-heaven; as we sail over the perilous sea of life.” (Saint Thomas Aquinas) ii. The Way of the Cross The Way of Cross walked every Friday, in the season of Lent, is one of the most sorrowful ceremonies of the Church; as it is remembrance of the 14 stations that our Redeemer passed, bearing His Cross, from Pilate’s palace to Mount Calvary. The Way of Cross is meditation upon the Passion of the Christ. Saint Frances of Assisi did much effort to promote this devotion to the Lord. During this devotional act every gesture and every word spoken by the leader causes in the hearts a pitiful feeling towards our Lord’s poor-miserable condition along with an examination of Conscience. The Way of Cross is a mean of obtaining the grace of Contrition. It is also an incentive to practice the virtue. The saints often tell us that meditation on our Lord‘s passion imparts strength to suffer, not merely with patience but with joy. iii. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament We ought to visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. In this respect the shepherds and the three Kings, who came to visit the Infant Savior in the manger, set us an example. Access to our Lord is not denied to us; the Church door stands open and from the tabernacle the voice of our Lord calls to us: “Come to Me, all you that labor and are burdened; and I will refresh you.” (Gospel of Saint Mathew 11/28)
There is not even a single moment of relaxation far man unless; he hands over his worries to the One who invites all to come to Him and receive the strength and comfort that no one else can give. The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a solemn exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament in the monstrance unveiled- at some height above the altar for the adoration of the faithful. When one gazes at the one present in the golden monstrance, in the veil of white-circularbread, he feels some gravitational force attracting his soul to cease every useless thought and just look towards at Him. At this summit of spiritual heights, one is able to feel his realsinful- state, along with a method to acquire the original state- union wit the Holy One by spirit, mind and heart. iv. The Most Holy Rosary The Rosary is a prayer in which the Pater Noster is followed by ten Hail Marys, is repeated five of fifteen times, accompanied by the meditation on the Life, the Passion and the Exaltation of the Redeemer. The Rosary is divided into Joyful, Sorrowful Glorious and Luminous mysteries. In the first we honor God the Father, who sent us the Savior, In the second we honor God the Son, who redeemed us, In the third we honor God the Spirit who sanctifies us and, In the fourth we honor God the Father, who sent us the Savior, In the fifth we praise the Blest Trinity who cares for us. The devout servants of Mater Maria address her frequently, in the words of the Archangel Gabriel b adding one Ave Maria to another, as one places roses in a wreath. Indulgence of Mother Mary obtained by this devotion helps a person to obtain Forgiveness of sins, strength of spirit, healing of wounds and very other good intention is fulfilled, as promised by the Regina Caeli herself to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes. There are numerous examples and miracles that show that God grants the intercessors of Mary whatever they ask for. v. Retreats The word itself explains the entire meaning of this invocative method. RE TREAT YOURSELF. Retreats are very beneficial for the priests, nuns and for the seminarians, as they have to be very careful in their lives. But they are not only for them. Several monsignors and various religious communities hold retreats in their societies so that people may get the chance to examine their consciences and mend every defect of their life. Blessed Cardinal Neumann urges the importance of retreats in these words. â€œRetreats are not mere for the ordained or the hierarchy but, for every faithful for his better nourishment. They are as important to the soul as sunshine to the plant.â€? By retreats one gets the opportunity to take a break from the matters of life, and spent some hours/ days in solitude-in loneliness. Because when we cut ourselves from the world, only then we are able to listen the voice of God; just like young Samuel heard in the night, when the world was silent. Even the saints were wont to withdraw into solitude for a time, by dong retreats. Our Lord spent 40 days in the desert, in order to arm Himself with the weapons of Spirit and shield of Godâ€™s help.
5. SOURCES TO PRAY Prayer is not only considered important in Christianity, but in every religion of the world. The necessity of prayer is not of humanly mind but the obligation of prayer is entirely related to the Spirit. The Church provides various sources of prayer, out of which I will mention, only few. i. Source of prayer from the Holy Scriptures Though every phrase of the Sacred Scripture encourages to prayer an chastity, true faith and complete abandonment to the will of God but, still there are few books regarded as the “Books of Prayer”. Theses are books are usually studied by people for Personal counseling, Emotional consolation, Spiritual strength and Nourishment of faith. The books of the Scripture regarding prayer life are as follows: ● The Book of Tobias ● The Book of Job ● The Book of Psalms ● The Four Gospels ● The Letters of the Apostles ii. Source of prayer from the Preaching of the Apostles The twelve apostles of the Messiah did well in their responsibility of discipleship. They carried passionately the good tidings of the salvation and remittance from sins to the corners of the world. Their passion to preach the Gospel increased as much the preaching grew harder. This was only because they were firmly strong in their faith, entirely determined to preserve their souls from evil and ready to preach Christ every hour of their life. iii. Source of prayer from the Teaching of the Saints “No on can ever cure this sick world except saints. No one but God can make saints and we meet God in prayer.” (Saint Ambrose) All the canonized people of he Church; called “Saints”, are only declared because of their prayerful lives. Their every act performed reflects their prayerful attitude of life, due to which even up to this day indulgences made in their name are granted by God, immediately. There is not even a single saint who has not preached the importance of prayer yet, I cannot mention every word of their teaching; instead it seems good to me to state some quotes of different saints on “Prayer”. “Prayer is light of the soul.” Saint Teresa of Avila “When a man begins to pray, he ceases to sin. When he ceases to pray, he begins to sin.” Saint Augustine
“Prayer is like celestial dew, as the Earth is refreshed by dew at night by the dew from heaven, so the soul is revived and fortified by prayer.” Saint Alphonsus de Liguori “By prayer the just man acquires many virtues.” Saint Anthony-the Great
BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Howe, Canon, The Catechist, R/T Washbourne Ltd, 1917, Manchester. 2. C Gardiner, Harold (SJ), Confessions of Saint Augustine, Cardinal Editions. 3. Oâ€™Neil, Colman E (OP), Meeting Christ in the Sacraments, Alba House, 1961, Texas. 4. Ashcraft, J Robert, When You Pray, ICI University Press, Irving Texas, 1977 5. Rev. Grim, Eugene (C.SS.R), Letters of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori,Cementary Editions, 1961 6. Cramer, The Most Holy Rossary, Alba House, 1982 7. Rev. Mgr. Conaty, J. Thomas, New Testament studies, ICI University Press, Irving Texas, 1985 8. Rev. Britt, M.H. (O.SB), Characterstics of True Devotion, Benzinger Brothers, 1966 9. Divine Office 10. Tesniere, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Benzinger Brothers, 1994
Published on Mar 16, 2013